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Introduction As a child, did you ever hear a story that changed your view of the world? Are you still moved by a great play, book or film? If so, you already appreciate the power of story to transform how we see, relate and behave towards each other and to the world around us.

You are not alone. For some, it begins by listening to Grandparents sharing stories of old. For others it may involve falling in love with a character from a novel or possibly that magical first trip to the theatre. In all forms, this ancient art entices and transports us to wonderful new worlds that inevitably infuse our perceptions of daily life.

Once bitten, it is a source of joy for life. The book in your hands is a work of fiction created to remind us of an important truth. Holme is enchanted.


Thank you! We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped and supported us throughout the whole process of enchanting Holme.

In particlular we would like to thank Andrew McCaul, Alice Hilton, Luisa Townsley, Keith Griffin, John Curry, Bill Macbeth, Rebecca Mckenzie, Peter Rock, Andrew Heath Beesley, Neil Worthington, Ajaz Ahmed, Linda Williams, Brent Woods, Sally Osman, Lee Corner, Prof. Bob Cryan, Prof. Tim Thornton, Laurence Boldt, Barrie Robertshaw, Sophie Jones and Barry Sheerman.

We would also like to thank The University of Huddersfield, Duffield Litho & Digital, Huddersfield Media Centre, Kirklees Council, The Bigger Boat and Make Believe.


This book is for Maisy, Georgia, Sebastian, Nelly, Gabriel, Zachary, Stanley, Lauren, Libby, Ben, Lucas, Harry, Pheobe, Scarlet and the child within everyone of us...


Holme The Enchanted Valley

Written by Paul Wilson Illustration by Christian Waterson Design, digital illustration and typography by Lee Boothroyd and Douglas Main


M

ost people put it down to her age, after all, seven wasn’t so old. A child’s fantasy, nothing more, nothing less. Yet, there was always a painful pause

when others saw it for the first time. A normally shy little girl rolling around in the grass, chatting away or giggling with laughter with invisible friends. At other times she would be reduced to tears, sobbing without explanation in parks and gardens, or down by the river. been talking with It was all perfectly natural for Scarlet of course as she had in particular reminded plants, trees and animals as long as she had with people. Trees her a lot of people. are more friendly Some are tall, well groomed and look down on you. Others turning their back on with rich blossom and open branches. A few sag and slope, railings, over run by the world. Others are lost to shadows, leaned on by cast iron to. aggressors. Forgotten children, looking for someone to talk

That someone was Scarlet.

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he tree at the back of Almondbury ch urch stood alone and Scarlet felt it scared. Petrified ev was en. But it was no t lo nely because a cr sat still against th ow w ith oily wings e wind on a low sw ung branch. A gu ard with black ey She introduced he es, staring. rself again, but th e stubborn old bi single word she di rd would only mut d not understand ter a . She couldn’t remember seeing a tree that looked so worried. Twist d e and gnarled with a hunched look abo ut it.

Deep marks were etched into the bark and twisted along its length , up the trunk and around every branch. Letters , symbols and drawings. A charm inked on skin.

Scarlet jumped as her mother pulled her back into her father’s arms. ‘Take her to the church’ she barked, her father already retreating. ‘Quickly Stuart’ she snapped. Over her father’s shoulder Scarlet could see her mother in a rage. Puffed up in anger, finger pointing at the crow. She ranted in a language Scarlet did not recognise. Harsh yet poetic. She knew she was upset, but this was different.

She’d never heard her screaming before.

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Her Mother scrawled strange lines and symbols in the soil at the foot of the tree, still staring at the crow. She lowered her voice, muttering something, then knelt in front of it. A black flash as the crow swooped from the branch, slashing her face with its talons. She fought back a scream as it landed, standing proud in front of her.

Whatever her mother had said the crow had understood. But why had she never spoken with animals before? Her mother retreated, clutching the pendant around her neck. A flat semi circle of polished sandstone held firmly in her grip. Scarlet lost sight of her mother as she rounded the corner of the church. She made a vow to ask about the crow later. When she had calmed down.

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O

ld Bill was far from the most popular person in the village but there was still a good turn out at the church that day. Huddles of friends, backs to the wind

offering their condolences. Not bad for a man notorious for never leaving his remote farm or speaking to another soul for over fifteen years. The heavy iron gate of his farm had been welded shut in recent time following a suspected break in that resulted in one of the barns being burnt to the

ground.

From that day he hid himself away,

surviving on essential goods, passed through a small side gate. storekeeper who Truth be told, not many would miss him, apart from the local was, however, made a tidy profit from the special delivery arrangements. There Old Bill owned all the another reason for the attendance at the church that day. farmsteads. This was the surrounding land including that of the church, village and for clues as to what the first chance for people to meet their new landlords and listen between the villagers future may hold. There had always been a love hate relationship ted a single penny in and their keeper despite his curiosities, Old Bill hadn’t collec rent for over a decade.

Now that his only daughter had inherited the land there was a real fear that this would change, rents would be high and some people may even be evicted. One man had come prepared with an offer. Lord Harton had been trying to buy Old Bills land for as long as anyone could remember. His motives were uncertain but rumour had it that he wanted to create a new rail line from his colliery in the south to his factories in the north. Straight through the village centre. A stocky, powerful man with a booming voice, his success was only overshadowed by his ambition. He wore a black, full length suit with silk turns and a single red rose in his button hole. In the inside pocket he had an envelope sealed with his personal stamp containing deeds of purchase that he intended to present to the family as a once in a lifetime opportunity. How could anyone turn down one million pounds for such a wretched jag of land? Knowing the daughter Emma from when she was a tot, and confident she had no intention of relocating from London, he puffed out his chest and made his way through the crowd.

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A

lthough Emma could hear him talking she was too distracted to listen to Old Fartin, as the children used to call him. Her eye was fixed on Scarlet,

standing in front of the Old Oak she used to swing on as a child. She looked distant, despite being only a few feet away. She remembered the tree. It used to be much grander, healthier, with a rope swing thrown over the lower branch. She could still see her father pushing her.

Up

and over.

with That was before the disappearance, after which she was sent to stay spent many family in London at the tender age of ten. On leaving the valley she had er she years denying the voices, whispers and howls that surrounded her wherev went. Practice had made her deaf to the other world. Yet, despite her best efforts, she could hear this tree now hypnotising Scarlet with its charms. She hoped her daughter would be different, denied the gift. Yet, despite her best efforts Scarlet spoke with the others at every opportunity.

It must stop, before Scarlet was taken. As she once had been. The shadows crossed the churchyard in a frenzied dance, but nobody was watching. The day had been more eventful than any could remember with the flamboyant funeral and fracas between Emma and Lord Harton. How the crowd cheered as she threw the envelope flatly in the bin without even opening it. The crowd’s cheer was short lived.

Mrs Crowther, the baker’s wife had seen Emma on her way from the church retrieving the envelope from the bin whilst hiding her face with a silk scarf. There was blood on her jacket and she had a wild look. ‘Her hair was like a hawthorne bush’ Mrs Crowther chuckled.

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service Probably from the nosebleed the child had suffered just after the some offered.

‘Maybe, maybe not’ said Mr Pollock, the butcher, ‘but I can tell you this much, she has her Grandfather’s eyes, no mistaking’. The small crowd collectively breathed in at the suggestion, then dispersed. But not before Mr Fletcher added ‘But why retrieve the envelope if not to consider the offer?’.

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Holme - The Enchanted Valley